Job hunting is a bitch. There’s really no other way to describe it. It’s a soul sucking defeating process. We are forced to jump through hoops to try to impress the judges who may or may not hire us. One slip up in an interview could ruin all your chances. And we all have to go through the same bull shit line of questioning each and every time.
“Do you have difficulty being on time for work?”
Whoever says yes to that is a complete idiot. No sane person would blatantly tell an interviewer, “yeah I’m rarely on time, and also I like to drink on the job.”
It’s sad that even with a college degree it’s nearly impossible to find employment nowadays. It seems like every job wants at least 5 to 10 years of work experience. Not trying to sound like I’m bragging or anything but I know I can pretty much do any job. I mean, after all I did graduate from college, so I must be somewhat smart. But the thing that the older generation doesn’t understand about our generation is that we may not have specific degrees in things they are looking for but we can figure out how to do anything. We are the generation of research and technology. I have no idea how to change a faucet but with a little help of my smart phone and YouTube I guarantee I can do it.
So for about a week I went through the grueling process of sending out resumes to every place imaginable and posted it all over the internet: Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and all those job hunting sites. But pretty much all those sites are good for is to have your inbox constantly overflowing from recruiters trying to get you to either sell insurance or go door to door trying to sell some other service such as television or internet.
One day I received a phone call from a marketing firm asking me to come in for an interview. I agreed and set up a date. Shortly afterwards I received an e mail from them confirming my interview. I quickly did some research on their company trying to figure out exactly what they did. And researching I still couldn’t make any sense of what they did. It sounded like they took on larger clients and “helped maintain personal relationships with those companies clients.” I was very skeptical because it sounded quite a bit like door to door sales; however, I figured it didn’t hurt to at least go in for an interview.
The interview was short and pretty basic, the interviewer asked me a few questions about my background and then went on to explain how the company works. Which, still, even after explaining it to me, it still didn’t seem to make any sense.
Later that day I got called back in for a follow up interview. They told me to clear my schedule for the day because it will be a day long job shadowing interview.
The next day I woke up early, got ready, put on my suit, and hopped the train for my second round interview starting at noon. I entered the same office again and casually flirted with the receptionist as I waited for the manager to come out. The manager, Jim, finally arrived and informed me I would be riding along with one of his recent hire’s, Tom. We walked out into the parking lot and entered Tom’s car. Jim instructed me to ride shotgun as he took the seat behind me.
I had no idea where we were about to head off to and still didn’t have a clue as to what we would be doing.
We set out down the highway to god knows where. “Okay I’m gonna run through a few questions on our way there.” Said Jim.
“Okay, sounds good.” I replied awkwardly trying to make a half turn around to make eye contact with Jim sitting directly behind me.
“So if you were an energy company what would be the best way to reach a large group of people?”
“Um, I would probably start out with advertising on the internet and social medias.”
“Okay, but what about the older generations that doesn’t use social media.”
I bit my tongue, trying not to sound like a smart ass correcting him that statistics have shown that the older generations are using sites like Facebook more and more. “Well then I would advertise in the newspaper and on billboards to cover the population not online.”
“That’s good,” said Jim, “I like the way you’re thinking.” He continued to go on a short rant about when trying to sell energy it needs to be more of a personal experience because most people tend to skip over ads they see in the paper or on the road. “So what would be a way to have a more personal selling experience?”
I knew exactly what he was getting at. I reluctantly answered, “Well, then, I guess cold calling or going door to door would be best.”
“Yes, exactly!” He continued to ramble on about the amazing benefits of door to door sales and how much the company has been growing because blah, blah, blah, how successful you can become as a salesman blah, blah, blah. While he was feeding me lines of bullshit I stared out the window and let my mind wander away.
This was yet another shitty door to door sales job and I was getting caught right in the middle of it. Part of me wanted to ask if I could get out and just take a bus home because I knew this was a waste of my time. But, I tried to look on the bright side; I had literally nothing else going on that day so I figured it would be interesting to see the process of this scamful business and it would give me something fun to write about.
We eventually approached a random neighborhood somewhere just outside of Philadelphia.
“Turn down this street and start counting the doors on the left.” Jim instructed Tom to do.
After about two blocks Jim said, “okay turn here and find a place to park.”
We all got out Toms car and listened to a quick debriefing from Jim.
Next, we started walking down the street to sell, what sounded like, utilities. I wasn’t too clear on how they were making money off of it but what it sounded like was our mission was to try to get these people to sign a contract which would sign them into a fixed rate plan on their utilities. Being that the price of gas and electric fluctuate with the market this would lock them into one constant price, kind of like having a fixed rate mortgage on your home.
We went from door to door to door for about four hours. Being that is was in the middle of the day most people were at work and those that did answer usually said, “I don’t want to buy anything,” and slammed the door in our faces.
We drove to a nearby Chick-fil-A for dinner and that’s where Jim explained the breakdown to me of how we make money. Basically it came down to for every person you get to sign up you get $50. Which isn’t half bad, but the downside is that there is no base pay. So, you could knock on doors all day long but if you don’t get any confirmed customers then you just wasted your day and walk away with nothing.
However, once you work for the company for about two months then you get promoted to a manager position where you are training people to go door to door under you. Then, you make money off of your sales and those below you. Once the people below you move up then you make money off of their sales as well as the people below them. Upon reading this I’m sure you are thinking the same thing I am, it’s a pyramid scheme.
At this point it I realized I had absolutely no interest in this job what so ever and I already knew I was going to get offered the position. Logically thinking it is absolutely no loss to them to hire as many people as possible and send them out on the streets to be their work horses.
We had about another three hours of monotonous door knocking ahead of us. After about an hour Jim went to find a gas station to use the restroom while Tom and I continued. Tom was a fresh college graduate, and I could tell by the hesitant way he carried himself he didn’t have a whole lot of experience in sales; which is probably why he easily got eaten up by this shark of a company.
The neighborhood that we were walking in was ‘okay’ but not exactly the best in the world. We approached one home, that, quite frankly, I would have walked right by. There were two African American men leaning on the side of beat up SUV drinking rum straight out of the bottle. Judging by the bottle almost being empty and the way they carried themselves it was obvious they were highly intoxicated. I saw no sense in giving them a sales pitch because they were too drunk to sign a contract and it wouldn’t even be legal. But Tom, the young naïve salesman he was, was still eager to give it a try.
“Hello, how are you guys doing today?” said Tom.
“Nigga we ain’t buyin nuttin.” One of the men replied.
“Oh no we aren’t selling anything.“
The other man cut him off, “What you Jehovah Witness or something?” struggling to keep his balance as he laughed.
“We are here about your utilities.”
“Shit, we ain’t need no utilities. What you a Jew or somethin? We ain’t got no money, got a busted ass car ‘n’ shit getting drunk.”
Tom, for some reason, still tried to make conversation with them, “Yeah I wish I was you right now, it looks like you guys are having a great time.”
Dude, shut up! I thought to myself. This was a complete waste of time.
After a little bit more of back and forth and a few racist comments from the two drunks, Tom eventually gave up and we went on our way.
By the end of the day we knocked on about 70 to 100 doors and made only 2 sales, which I learned was an average day.
Once we got back to the office I had a one on one meeting with Jim in his office. He went over a few other things about making sales and then at the end he said, “Well I would like to be the first to tell you, congratulations. You got the job; you can start Monday.”
I pretended to be excited, “That sounds great!” and shook his hand.
I hung around the office for a little bit because I had already missed my train and it would be another hour before the next one came. Jim said I could hang out for a little bit while the other salesmen were rolling in. I chatted with them for a little while. They were all kids right out of college, and some that were still in school. I thought what a group of suckers.
Then I met the one sales woman, her name was Ashley. She was tall, thin, blond, and beautiful. I quickly learned that we lived about a block away from each other and she even offered to give me a ride home. I flirted with her throughout the car ride and got her number before she dropped me off. I figured if I’m not taking the job I might as well try to get something out of today.
Later that night I met up with Jim, Tom, and other members from the office at the bar. They were all very excited for me to be part of their team, little did they know I had no intentions of actually working for them.
To my surprise the next day I got a call back from a local shoe store on Main Street of Manayunk, about a ten minute walk from my house, for an interview. I eagerly accepted, put on my suit, and headed downtown for an interview.
The interview was fairly short and basic and before I knew it I was already home. Then, about twenty minutes later I got a call back from the shoe store saying I got the job. The pay was only $8.50 an hour plus 2% commission but it was full time and just enough to live on until I found something better. I was just so relieved to finally get hired after about two weeks of searching.
I would now be selling expensive women’s shoes to the people of Philadelphia.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what ever happened between me and Ashley; nothing ever transpired.
Happy hunting everyone!